Unless you’ve never listened to music before in your life, you’ve probably heard of SoundCloud. And even if you have never heard of music, you’ve probably still heard of SoundCloud.
SoundCloud is a next-generation music entertainment company powered by an ecosystem of artists, listeners, and curators who want to stay on the pulse of what's new, current, and coming in the industry. It has become a go-to site for artists to share their creations and for music fans to find what’s next.
Founded in 2007, SoundCloud is an artist-first platform empowering artists by providing them with the most progressive tools, services, and resources to build and grow their careers. With over 300 million tracks from 30 million creators heard in 190 countries, their reach is impressive.
SoundCloud is a Berlin-founded company that expanded its operations to include New York City. In their ever-growing pursuit of making unique products that artists and fans love and reaching even wider audiences, they’ve also got key leaders in other cities around the globe.
As a creative company with two centers of gravity, many layers of history, and a distributed workforce, they needed help creating stronger alignment across their locations, especially between Germany and the US.
They also wanted to align their teams around a consistent and inspiring brand voice, for the brand at large but with unique variants that fit creator and audience brands — because SoundCloud is just as much a creator community as it is a place to discover amazing new music and support your favorite artists.
Finally, because CX spanned both the Creator and Audience businesses and had stakeholders across the leadership team, there was no obvious single place for CX to fit within the organization and there was no executive representation. Therefore, SoundCloud wanted help evaluating its org design in regard to CX.
"Customer experience is extremely important to SoundCloud, but with the transitions at the executive level it wasn’t getting the priority attention it needed. We needed to identify a North Star truth for the business.” said Megan Quinn, Chief of Staff at SoundCloud.
SoundCloud engaged our Fractional CXO services and worked with one of the experts on our team, Thomas Hils, who brought experience working at companies like Zapier and CoinTracker. Thomas also tapped into an internal board of experts at PartnerHero, which includes leaders with experience from companies like Atlassian, Vimeo, Microsoft, and Mashable, to consider the problem from all angles.
Thomas embarked upon an in-depth study of the two company cultures—German and US—including a trip to Berlin to get time in person with the team and understand their day-to-day better. He interviewed critical stakeholders across the leadership team and within the CX organization to understand both perspectives and create a holistic picture of the challenges and strengths available.
He presented his initial findings after 30 days, and then conducted further discovery with company leaders. This research ultimately led to a complete set of recommendations and deliverables after 90 days.
Thomas delivered an in-depth report with insights about the US and Berlin offices and cultures, along with an action plan for how both teams could work together more effectively and better support the mission of the company overall.
Based on his interviews with company leaders and CX team veterans—and drawing on his own experience as a CX team builder—Thomas also developed a brand-aligned communication handbook for both offices to follow when communicating externally with customers.
To ensure that SoundCloud could support the new vision for CX, Thomas created detailed operational recommendations and broke them into three different approaches: highest impact, lowest cost, and a healthy balance between the two. In the image below, you can see what the summary looked like, with Thomas’s top 10 recommendations (confidential details obscured) categorized based on impact and cost, with the “Balanced” scenario highlighting the best of both worlds:
Then, he further defined all of the recommendations and developed a timeline for implementation to ensure that SoundCloud could deliver on critical initiatives they had planned for the fiscal year. He considered the options the executive team had indicated as most important and prioritized those in scheduling.
SoundCloud has already implemented the communication changes and handbook that Thomas developed and is looking forward to rolling out more of the recommendations. “We already knew a lot of what we needed to change,” says Megan Quinn, Chief of Staff at SoundCloud, “But it was so nice to be able to work with someone with true expertise in the space who could confirm that we were doing the right things. We loved working with Thomas and will probably work with him again when we can roll some more of these initiatives out.”
PartnerHero’s Fractional CXO offering can help businesses at any stage in their CX maturity understand best practices and develop brand-aligned operational plans to help your business harness customer-led growth. If you’re interested in working with Thomas or another Fractional CXO from PartnerHero’s CX Transformation team, we’d love to talk!